The Bible. It's my favorite book of all time. I read it. I study it. I teach it. I quote from it. I write about it. I sing songs about it. I love the Bible in many formats, for I use several translations and paraphrases. And I've even been known to borrow my husband's Greek New Testament to check on some phrase or word from the original. I'm not telling you all this to brag. There's no conceit in what I feel about the Bible. I know that most of you reading this column feel the same way about the Bible that I do.
However, there are times when studying the Bible can be a challenge. There are times when I'm tired or sleepy and thinking about serious things is difficult. There are times I'm preoccupied with things I have to do and it's hard for me to concentrate. There are times I have unconfessed sins and my guilt keeps me from the Word. That's when I have to remind myself of a few things to keep myself on task.
First, I read Scripture passages that speak about Scripture, like 2 Timothy 3:16-17: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work;" and Hebrews 4:12: "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow." Verses like that remind me there will be truth in what I read in the Bible.
Next, I might read Psalm 119. That whole Psalm (all 176 verses!) reinforces the importance of God's Word. Verse 11 says, "I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You." Verse 18: "Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law." Verse 90: "Your faithfulness continues through all generations; You established the earth, and it endures." Verse 103: "How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Verse 105: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." Verse 130: "The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple." Verses like that remind me I can grow stronger with God's Word.
But on those days when I really don't want to read any more Scriptures, when I don't want to try to figure out what passages mean for me, when I feel I just can't do another thing that leans toward self-improvement, when I am too focused on myself to think of anything but my own problems, when I feel more than a little bit sorry for myself, I force myself to read James 1:16-17: "Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
The Bible. It's my favorite book of all time. Tell me, what's your favorite verse?
Verna Davis, author and speaker, lives in Frankton. She can be readed at Vrspeaks@yahoo.com.